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  • Burma Lee Russell Chastain

Burma Lee Russell Chastain

 Burma Lee Russell Chastain, age 87 of Cleveland passed away Sunday, July 29, 2018. 

Born on January 22, 1931 in Hayesville, North Carolina, Burma was the daughter of the late Larkin Roosevelt Russell and Viola Rainee Garrett Russell. 

She graduated from Hayesville High School and at the age of 50, Burma would graduate at the top of her class from Tri-County Community College with a degree in cosmetology. At the age of 8, Burma met the man who she knew someday would be her husband, J. S. Chastain, they remained friends for a number of years and finally married in 1948. She and J.S. would spend 60 plus years together before his passing in 2010. No stranger to hard work, Burma worked for Orbit Manufacturing in Helen and along with her late husband, owned and operated the Ice Berg (later known as the Alpine Valley Inn) until 1971. She then moved back to her hometown of Hayesville, N.C. where she worked various jobs before returning to White County, where she was employed by Ames Textile and finally Fruedenburg NOK. She formerly retired in 2005 but would continue to be active in both Meals on Wheels as well as the White County Senior Center. Burma was a longtime member of Testnatee Baptist Church.

In addition to her husband, Burma is preceded in death by her son, David Lee Chastain, daughter, Sandra Diana Chastain as well as her sister, Madge Russell and brother, Dawson Russell.

Survivors include her daughter, Vicki Watson of Cleveland and Ole Town, FL, sons, John Chastain of Cornelia and Gary Chastain of Cleveland; sister, Clyta Matheson, of Hayesville, N.C. and brother Walter Russell of Forrest Park, Ga. Burma is also survived by her 13 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

It was Burma’s wish to be cremated and services will be held at a later date.

To share a memory of Burma or to send a condolence, visit

Barrett Funeral Home of Cleveland in charge of arrangements. 

Clay County Progress

Mailing Address: PO Box 483, Hayesville, NC 28904
Physical Address: 43 Main Street, Hayesville, NC 28904
Phone: 828-389-8431
Fax: 828-389-9997